And here is another story: one day a Bishop took a little boat and went for a row on a lake up in the mountains. When he reached the other side of the lake, he saw a shepherd tending his sheep and was struck by his expression, for it revealed such peace and joy. The bishop got into conversation with him and, after a while, he asked him if he believed in God and how he prayed.
The shepherd, who was honoured and overjoyed by the bishop’s question, replied, ‘Oh, that’s simple: when I want to thank God I put my crook down on the ground and skip over it, back and forth, back and forth, like this!’ The bishop was horrified. ‘That’s ridiculous!’ said he; ‘That’s not the way to pray. I’ll show you…’ Then he explained to the shepherd how he should get down on his knees and what words he should use to express his gratitude to God.
The shepherd listened with great humility and was very glad to learn how to pray better. Then the bishop left him, went back to his boat and pushed out towards the far side. All of sudden, when he had already gone quite a long way, what did he see but the shepherd, running towards him, calling out, ‘Reverend Father, tell me the words of the prayer, again. I’ve forgotten them.’ Amazed to see the poor man walking on the water, the bishop replied, ‘Oh, my son, pray in whatever way you like; you know much more about it than I do!’
It sometimes happens that we meet unsophisticated people who know nothing about philosophy or science but who are truly alive. Don’t misunderstand me, I have nothing against people who are learned; I, too, want to learn as much as possible. But I want you to understand that we often forget the most important thing in life, which is gratitude to God.
Omraam Mikhaël Aïvanhov
Complete Works, Vol. 1, The Second Birth, Love, Wisdom, Truth